Chad is facing a potential crisis of hunger due to a decline in funding for food assistance.

The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations has issued a warning that the 1.4 million people in Chad who rely on food aid may soon face a complete stop in assistance due to lack of funding. This comes at a time when the country is also seeing an increase in refugees from the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur area.

Due to insufficient funding and a rise in humanitarian demands, WFP has announced that it will temporarily discontinue food assistance for millions of displaced individuals and refugees in Nigeria, the Central African Republic, and Cameroon starting in December.

Starting in January, the suspension will be expanded to Chad. This decision has been described as “brutal” and will impact those who are seeking refuge from Sudan and will not be able to receive food as they cross the border. This information was stated in a WFP press release.

Approximately 500,000 Sudanese individuals have migrated to Chad following a conflict between the leaders of Sudan’s national army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in April, resulting in a state of war in the country. A recent evaluation found that over 90% of these refugees are currently experiencing food insecurity.

Many individuals have fled from West Darfur, where there have been targeted killings based on ethnicity, extensive cases of sexual violence, and other violations of human rights. In recent weeks, the RSF and Arab militias have been responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 members of the Masalit community in the village of Ardamata, raising concerns about a potential recurrence of the genocide that occurred in the early 2000s.

Pierre Honnorat, the country director for Chad at WFP, expressed concern over a crisis that has been overlooked and has now spread while the global focus is on other urgent situations. He stated that the number of Darfuris seeking refuge in Chad in the past six months has surpassed the total number in the past two decades. It is crucial that we take action and prevent our life-saving efforts from coming to a stop.

The climate crisis, inter-communal tensions, and increasing food and fuel costs have left hundreds of thousands of people in Chad facing hunger. Honnorat cautioned against reducing food assistance, as it would reverse the progress made in addressing hunger and could lead to nutrition, instability, and displacement crises.

The World Food Programme requires a total of 185 million dollars (equivalent to 148 million pounds) to continue providing food assistance in Chad for the next six months. Due to a global funding shortage, the organization has had to reduce rations and decrease its operations in several countries.

The available funds are dwindling while the demands for international assistance continue to rise. According to Development Initiatives, a data consulting firm, the number of individuals in need of humanitarian aid increased by almost 30% to a record high of 407 million people in 2022.